Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

Grace's Guide is the leading source of historical information on industry and manufacturing in Britain. This web publication contains 142,971 pages of information and 229,026 images on early companies, their products and the people who designed and built them.

British Gaslight Co

From Graces Guide

Revision as of 09:22, 30 March 2020 by PaulF (talk | contribs)
(diff) ← Older revision | Latest revision (diff) | Newer revision → (diff)
Jump to: navigation, search

of George Yard, Lombard Street, London (1825)

1824 The British Gas Light Company was formed with the objective ".. to contract with and supply Light to Towns or Places that may require Gas."

1824 Two parishes in Hull entered contracts with the company to light them with coal gas[1]

1824 Set up an undertaking in the Sculcoates area of Hull.

1824 Made a cash call on its subscribers[2]

The first permanent chairman was Jacob George Wrench, appointed in May 1825.

1825 Built its works in the School house Lane, Stepney

1826 C. Green made a balloon ascent from the works of the company at Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent[3]

1829 an Act of Parliament was obtained which incorporated the London station and effectively separated the London undertaking from the rest of the company's undertakings. The incorporated London company operated mainly in the east end of London until 1852 when it was purchased by the Commercial Gas Co. Lighting contracts were obtained in Limehouse, Whitechapel and Mile End. Offers to purchase the works of the Poplar Gas Light Co and the Ratcliff Gas Light Co came to nothing, although after the 1829 Act was obtained, the Company extended its area of supply to districts previously supplied by the Imperial Gas Co and the Chartered Gas Light and Coke Co. This gave the Company another works (the works of the Whitechapel Road Gas Light and Coke Co in Bow, off Bow Road) which it had purchased together with its supply district from the Imperial GLCC in 1829.

After the Act was passed, the unincorporated part of the company (known as the Provincial Co) was established by Deed of Settlement. It operated seven stations at Norwich, Hull, Trowbridge, the Potteries, Holywell, Ayr and Clonmel in Ireland. The headquarters of the company were in George Yard, Lombard St, London.

By 1837 The Company had obtained a monopoly on gas supply.

1852 The Commercial Gas Light and Coke Co bought the British Gas Company's London district for a knockdown figure.

1857 The company was incorporated as a Joint Stock Co with Limited Liability

1922 The headquarters of the company were moved to No.2, The Abbey Garden, Westminster.

1924 The company's constitution was altered by the substitution of a Memorandum and Articles of Association for the original Deed of Settlement. The headquarters of the company were originally in George Yard, Lombard St, London until 1922 when they moved to No.2, The Abbey Garden, Westminster.

The British Gaslight Co was unique in that it was not only an undertaker in its own right but it also eventually had a controlling interest in 21 gas companies.

By 1949 it had 18 subsidiary undertakings in the East of the country as well as operating 10 stations of its own. Under the Gas Act 1948, special arrangements were made to transfer the local undertakings to the relevant Area Gas Board concerned.


The most important stations of the British Gas Light Co were at Norwich and Hull, both purchased in 1825.

1825 The company purchased the Norwich Gas Light Co (formed in 1820) which produced gas from oil; it operated works in the parish of St Stephen.

The company also established a major coal gas works at Hull, on land at Sculcoates.

1825 Built its works in the School house Lane, Stepney

1830 the Company decided to convert the Norwich works to coal gas manufacture and to expand to a new site at Bishop Bridge.

1832 The works at Ayr were sold to a private owner

By 1853 another new works was completed at St Martin-at-Palace, Norwich.

1857 (sic) Started operation of a station at Norwich ??

1883 the British Gas Light Co erected chemical works at Great Yarmouth, the raw by-products being conveyed from Norwich by river.

The Hull works operated alongside the works of the Kingston-upon-Hull Gas Light Co and later the East Hull Gas Co.

1895 The Clonmel business was sold.

1922 The station in the Staffordshire Potteries was sold to Stoke-on-Trent Borough Council.

1928 Started operation of a station at Bletchley (Fenny Stratford) and another at Harleston

1932 Started operation of a station at Downham Market

1933 Started operation of a station at Aylsham

1935 Started operation of a station at Brandon and another at Diss

1938 Started operation of a station at Chatteris

1936 Started operation of a station at Mildenhall

Also had stations at Thetford and Wickham (Market?)

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Leeds Mercury, November 20, 1824
  2. The Morning Chronicle, December 17, 1824
  3. The Hull Packet and Original Weekly Commercial, Literary and General Advertiser, October 10, 1826
  • National Archives [1]
  • London Metropolitan Archives [2]